Volkswagen Passat Brake Questions

reb4reb4 Member Posts: 1
I have a 99 Passat Brake lights are not working, but center strip is. Replaced bulbs & fuse Could it be switch? Is center strip on a different circuit? Check engine light came on recently and then went out. Any ideas before I have to spend a fortune at the dealer?


  • 3screwsloose3screwsloose Member Posts: 116
    Probably not the switch, not likely to have 2 switches for the brake lights. Could be a bad ground, but more likely to be the bulbholder ( melted ), causing bad contact or maybe even wires melted near the bulbholder connector or inside the bulbholder. Make sure to use correct bulbs ( not too bright/hot ) as they can be the cause for such a failure. I replaced my '02 headlight bulbs w/Silverstar bulbs and had to repair both the wires to both my low beam bulbs bulbholder connectors ( melted ), won't do that again - $40 for bulbs that in theory could have caused me to replace the entire headlight [non-permissible content removed]'y - VW doesn't offer a repair part for the melted connector - I got mine at a M-B dealer. But that is a headlight, not a brake light.
  • harman2harman2 Member Posts: 1
    Hello 3screwsloose,

    I had the exact same problem as you with the melted headlight and I am currently trying to find a way to fix it. You said you got yours at an M-B dealer. Would it be possible for you to send me more information about that. I am currently at a loss as to how to fix it. I'm just wondering what part I should get and where to get it. If you have the part # that would be great. Thanks so much!
  • ajdimmick03pasajdimmick03pas Member Posts: 1
    I have a '03 passat with 80k miles. For the second time now, my brake lights stay illuminated when i get out of the car. I spoke with a tech for VW, and she seemed to think it was the mechanism attached to the brake pedal.

    Has anyone else had this issue? Or how did you fix it? Cost? Thoughts
  • 600kgolfgt600kgolfgt Member Posts: 690
    What your VW tech is trying to say:

    It's your brake light switch. I had it replaced on my wife's 03 Passat, and that fixed the problem.

    The brake light switch is tied into your car's ABS system, as well as the cruise control. If you see a yellow triangular light in your instrument panel or your cruise control system won't engage, it's definitely the brake light switch (approx. $50 to replace).

    I had the same switch replaced on my 2003 Wolfsburg Jetta due to a factory recall.
  • 3screwsloose3screwsloose Member Posts: 116
    I just came back and saw your message. I will get the info to you.
  • 3screwsloose3screwsloose Member Posts: 116
    Sorry about the long wait, we had a death and that took me out of the loop. Anyway here is the dope. This will work for H7 bulbs, it is a new connector/bulbholder that replaces the melted plastic housing ( connector ) and melted wires. I will send you a VIN later as I forgot it at work. You may need it to order thru M-B as they may be trying to limit their use by non M-B owners. You will need part number 210 820 00 13 - quantity 1 for each light bulb. Also, you will need 002 546 14 41 - quantity 2 for each bulb. Double both quantities for both headlights. Basically you just cut off the old plastic connectors and splice in new ones without having to replace the entire headlight. The second part number is a solder/heat shrink repair tube connector that you use to join ( solder ) the wires together from the new connector to the wires you cut in your headlight. You will need a heat gun to get the solder tubes hot enough to melt and shrink the tubing. Just cut the old wires a little behind the melted portions and join the new connector/wires with the solder connectors. Tuck in the wires and install the covers on the rear of the headlights and you are done. Not too difficult if you take it one step at a time. A heat gun is essential, not a cigarette lighter. It blows hot air like a hair dryer, but much more hot. Don't melt the wires or your skin. Be careful around the paint too. Good luck and I will get the VIN for you to use when ordering.
  • sheep1sheep1 Member Posts: 1
    I think that I am being ripped off by my dealer. only 88,000 km and they tell me i need all new tires and brakes AGAIN. Is this normal? I have the front brakes redone at 60,000 and rear at 35,000 and now they say the rear need redoing. is this normal? thanks for any input. the car is on the hoist waiting my 'go ahead'
  • 3screwsloose3screwsloose Member Posts: 116
    Hey here is the VIN you will probably need to order the headligt repair parts. It will work with H7 bulbs. You may have to transfer the metal retainer from your old connector to the new part. Good luck! WDBJF65F8WA653941
  • carbuzz9000carbuzz9000 Member Posts: 1

    I just bought a 2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX. The other day I left work in a hurry. I must admit that I drove my car pretty hard that day having fun with the car, accelerating and breaking hard. Before driving into my driveway I noticed that the ABS light was on. There is no indication that anything is wrong with the breaks other than the light being on. I have almost new break pads, the engine and emergency brake lights are not on, and no noise coming from the breaks.

    One thing that sticks out in my mind is that I work at a place that is right next to a saw dust collection facility that blows saw dust everywhere when it gets windy.

    Could it be the dust or my driving habits? What would cause the ABS lights to turn on considering there are no symptoms with the breaks?
  • own_passat00own_passat00 Member Posts: 6
    Hi to all. I own a VW Passat 00, 2.8L, 6 cyl car. Recently on a HW at 65 mi/h (I was not using brakes at the time) the display showed STOP and the other one showed ABS and flashing BRAKES. I stopped the car. A few days ago it also started showing a tracking control symbol. Sometimes these messages come up when I just turn the car on in the morning. Sometimes I see them after I start driving or no messages at all for the duration of the trip...My mechanic hooked up a computer (nothing was shown on the display), drove the car, cleaned the monitoring devices on all 4 wheels. The car drives the same. I did not experience any changes when I use brakes. Thanks to all for any suggestions you may have. Have a great day!
  • 600kgolfgt600kgolfgt Member Posts: 690
    You need a new brake light switch (usually around $40). It is tied into the braking, cruise control, and anti-slip regulation (ASR) systems. I believe there is either a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) or an outright recall on the switch. If either situation is the case, you can have it replaced free of charge at the VW dealer. I would check with the dealership for this.

  • own_passat00own_passat00 Member Posts: 6
    Thanks, 600kgolfgt. I called the VW dealership and they told me that there is a recall for this switch on the bug and getta. None for the Passat yet (strange, but it is VW after all). Good news that they were not surprised... I will try speaking to a service manager and see if he would change the switch on Passat. I will post an update. Thanks for your post and have a fabulous day!
  • jimram3jimram3 Member Posts: 2
    Hello Everyone!I own a 99 Passat.ABS light and flashing Brake light stays on all the time. Everytime I press my brakes the Tach needle drops to 0 and my oil light starts to blink, Meanwhile the car stays idle as if nothing is wrong. When I release the brake, all goes back to normal.(Until I need to stop again.) I replaced the Brake switch but that only worked for 5 minutes. I'm affraid to turn on the radio cause the wipers may come on.(Kidding)Please, Can anyone out there help me out. :confuse:
  • own_passat00own_passat00 Member Posts: 6
    Hello, 600kgolfgt. I finally got the brake light switch replaced. It worked for a few hours. And today I saw the same messages again. My mechanic said that I need to hook up the car to the ABS dedicated computer and see if that shows anyrhing. Any thoughts on that? What should I do next? Thanks to all you, kind people, for reading and replying to the messages.

  • 600kgolfgt600kgolfgt Member Posts: 690
    Sorry - I just realized that you have the V6 engine, which according to conversations with my VW dealer, have a slightly different braking/ABS setup to accommodate the extra weight. I would have the ABS computer checked out - especially considering the age of your vehicle (2000 model). Driving around with a faulty braking system is not recommended - given the consequences.

    The brake light switch fixed the problem in my wife's 2003 Passat, but her car has the lighter 1.8T engine...
  • hdabehdabe Member Posts: 3

    I recently posted a question I had about ABS Brake lights and modules in another forum. I have a 99 VW Passat. Had the lights come on and rather than replace the ABS Brake Module had the module reconditioned which did the trick. Saved close to $2k. The light however has returned about a year later. Subsequent reconditioning hasn't worked.

    Now I mechanic pulls codes:

    P1602 18010 Power Supply (B+) Terminal 30 Low Voltage
    P1606 18014 Rough Road Spec Engine Torque ABS-ECU Electrical Malfunction

    Reconditioner says these are not problems in the ABS. That it has to do with the ECU and that they are soft codes.

    What's a soft code?

    That they can be cleared. Anyone know anything about this?

    If you anyone has any questions about removing the module and reconditioning I can point you in the right direction. I've gotten super good unfortunately at getting this thing out of the car.
  • own_passat00own_passat00 Member Posts: 6
    Hi, hdabe. I had this ABS and Brakes light flashing (see message #11). I changed the brake light switch (helped for 1 hr) and need to change ABS Brake Module. My mechanic will charge about $500 for the part and close to $100 for the work. Does it sound reasonable? Should I recondition instead? How is it done? Thank you for your help.

  • own_passat00own_passat00 Member Posts: 6
    Hello, guys
    I have a Passat 2000, 2.8l, 6 cyl. See messages #11, #19. I had an ABS module replaced and installed a new brake light switch. The Brakes and ABS stopped flashing, but I have a traction control triangular symbol permanently displayed now (before I replaced the module it was occasionally seen). It does not disappear if I press the traction control button. Do you have any idea what maybe the problem now? How to fix it? Thanks.
  • gham2007gham2007 Member Posts: 1
    I've a VW Passat 02 diesel. My brakes have been binding recently. My garagists changed the master cylinder but I got only a temporary improvement. New brake pads were fitted in but I still have the problem. Please what next can I check?
  • mike00beth1mike00beth1 Member Posts: 2
    Hello to all. I have a '01 Passat GLS 1.8L FWD. At 113k, I got the 'check brake pads' light. I was pretty happy with how far I got with the original set of pads/rotors. (It turns out the pads were pretty good but there was a groove right at the contact point where the wire runs into the pads and wore that down prematurely) :)

    Anyway, I changed the front rotors and pads and all is working well ... except the 'check brake pads' message still comes on first thing at start up. Anyone know how to stop the message? :confuse:

    Thanks in advance -- Mike
  • adrian537adrian537 Member Posts: 2
    You all know the problems that VW has with the ABS control module. You all know the prices they ask for them, well, I have found the Holy Grail for the failing ABS electronic module that every one has problems with. As you well know they always break down and there is no VW recall for it. The options are: get a new one which is very expensive, or get one from a junk yard. The third option I looked into is to have my ABS module rebuilt. The price is phenomenal. The company was nice enough to match another price I got from the internet from a competing company that I was truly not even able to get in touch with. I’d like to quote something I received from the company that rebuilt my ABS electronic module. “Hi
    Your are receiving this email In response to an online request you made for a used auto part, If you are searching for an Automotive Electronic Part such as an ABS Computer, ECU , Transmission Controller, Climate Controller , Digital Speedometer ,Air Flow Meter ,and many more Electronic Controllers ,than we can help you. You can call us toll free 1-800-***-**** for more Information or visit our website at www.*******.com ,Our rebuild service takes 1 to 2 business days we rebuild your original Control Module for a fraction of the price of new. We Implement our permanent rebuild solution in every controller we rebuild ,Did you know that if you are requesting a certain Electronic Control module it is probably on our List of High Failure rate Controllers these controllers if purchased used probably will fail in a short period of time or are failed when purchased, Did you know that the manufacturer of High Failure Rate Controllers have not Implemented a permanent fix for these known failures so buying new you may still experience this failure in the near future, Our permanent rebuild solution cures this Issue ,Since all controllers are updated with the highest quality components on the market.
    Thank You”
    Bottom line, the cost of rebuilt was $149. The company covers one way shipping to their destination, once they complete the work, they call you, and you pay via Paypal $149 plus shipping back to your house. The cheapest shipping I chose to have was $20 in this case because I was in no rush to get it back and I’ll later explain why. They offer over night delivery as well, for more money of course. So my total cost was $169. Try beating that price for a fully rebuilt and functional ABS control module. Originally they wanted $169 but were willing to match the price of $149. A good try on my behalf but it was worth it. The $20 discount they gave me actually covered the shipping back to my house. And I have to state that their costumer support if awesome. The reason I was in no rush to get back the ABS module is because once I removed it from my vehicle which by the way didn’t take too long, I was able to drive the car without it. So my point is, if you have the ABS module removed by a licensed mechanic no need to worry about not having a vehicle until you receive the rebuilt back. Makes sense? I believe that most people do not look into the option of having their ABS module rebuilt because it takes too long. Most mechanics (even the VW dealer) that I’ve asked about being able to drive my vehicle without the ABS module present did not have an answer as far as how safe it is to drive without it because they never encountered the situation. They told me that they always have a replacement ready when they remove the old one, therefore they couldn’t recommend what I should do. Once I removed the ABS control module, I got behind the wheel and moved the car just a bit, applied the brakes just to make sure those little pistons from the pump don’t move. So I was able to drive my car during the time my ABS was out to be rebuilt. I highly recommend the company that rebuilt my ABS control module and if enough interest is out there, I will release their private information since I do not know the exact rules of this forum, and because I’m new on this forum.
  • swu735swu735 Member Posts: 1
    adrian, Can you please provide me with the vendor you had your abs control module rebuilted from? Thanks.
  • tele1tele1 Member Posts: 1
    could you please forward the company name and contact information for the ABS rebuild?
    Thank you!
  • search4carsearch4car Member Posts: 30
    I have a 2003 Passat 1.8T.
    I had the rear brakes replaced at the VW dealer about ~2 months ago. I was away for the holidays for about 3 weeks and just got back. I went to go start my car, no problem. However, when I used the brake I was so surprised.

    It feels like the back brakes are scratching, like the pads are old. But it's not a constant scratch, but like a wave, as iff there's a bump or the rotor. I hope that explains it well.

    Any thoughts?

    Help Please, Thanks!
  • kayciekaycie Member Posts: 2
    We have a 2002 VW Passat. It has the 1.8T engine and a manual 5-speed transmission. It has about 85,000 miles on it and has been a really great car for us. We have started having a problem when turning right. The display says "STOP Brake Fault" and a warning tone sounds. It goes off after a few seconds.

    The only other problem we have had with it is the left cv axle, which has been replaced. The right cv axle has just started making some popping noises and probably will need to be repaired or replaced.

    Has any one else had this happen to them? Thanks for any information.
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    I suggest that you check the level of brake fluid in the reservoir, I suspect it is low (I also suspect that it is low because you're probably due for front brakes).

    Best Regards,
  • daveme1960daveme1960 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2003 1.5T Passat with the same break fault error. On my car, it doesn't matter if you are turning or not and doesn't matter which direction you turn if you do. I took it into the dealership and they did a complete brake inspection and couldn't find anything wrong. It's still doing it and I'm becoming a little nervous about even driving the car. I don't think the fluid level is low or the dealership would have discovered that. I'm wondering if the fluid is being affected by the below freezing temperatures we've been having though.
  • sonciosoncio Member Posts: 1
    I own a 1999 passat 4cil. turbo I had it checked with my mechanic because the abs/brake light were flashing he used a computer and it turnes out that it´s the ABS control module but I was told that it´s not the main abs module under the hood that its one that is somewhere under the dash does anyone know where abouts this module can be found before they destroy my dash and that way they can go directly to where its at and if its in a particular color or any signs of how it looks like.Any help will be highly appreciated.thanks to all.
  • altair4altair4 Member Posts: 1,469
    You didn't mention if the rotors were changed out when you had the brake work done. To me, it sure sounds like the rotors are warped.
  • momcat2momcat2 Member Posts: 1
    Could you please send me the address for the rebuilt ABS control module. Thank you.
  • kayciekaycie Member Posts: 2
    I thought I'd let you know that my husband added brake fluid (just a bit since the level didn't seem low) and the problem stopped. You might try it.
  • lkumarlkumar Member Posts: 1
    My VW 2000 passat 2.8 v6 has brakes and abs light on after dealer replaced both rotors and rear brakes pads , , Dealer asking me $1500 to replace abs module, I dont know what are my options, Is it safe to drive the car, is this caused after dealer replaced my brakes.
    Thanks for your help
  • majicmanmajicman Member Posts: 40
    I am sorry I didn't notice this post sooner. I just joined this forum on the 25th of January.

    2.5 years ago I had this company rebuild my 2001 Passat ABS controller
    At that time it cost me $250, and it is still working great! They provide a 3 year warrantee.

    I also had them do my Volvo S80 ABS controller more recently at the same price.

  • majicmanmajicman Member Posts: 40
    I don't know why replacing the brakes in the rear would cause the ABS light to go on. You don't say how many miles on the car. It is possible that it was ready to go anyway.

    Even if the ABS controller is not working, the brakes will still work. The ABS controller pulses the brakes if the wheel slips, if it is not working the brakes do not pulse and the wheels can lock up in slippery conditions and reduce directional control.

    Anyway, if you decide to replace the ABS controller, don't pay $1500. See my post #36 in this topic, in response to another ABS post late in december.

  • passatabspassatabs Member Posts: 1
    I own a 2000 passat 4cyl./turbo approaching 100,000 miles of use. I took it to a mechanic because the abs/stop/brake problem/triangle warning lights were all coming on soon after first driving it. The mechanic stated that "yes" the computer showed that all of those lights were coming on. But he fully checked the brake system and the brakes were safe. He assured me that I could even make the 1000 mile trip I was planning. He charged me $80something for this and said I should bring it back after the trip.

    I thought that his saying the brakes were good meant the lights had malfunctioned and he had reset the system so that would not occur again. It happened again though. I called him and he seemed surprised the lights were still coming on.

    When he next worked on the car he replaced all 4 brake pads and said that would fix the problem. Afterward, he said that my back brakes were 80-90% worn even though he had passed me for a state inspection just a few months before and there was no mention of a pad problem then or when I first came there to have the brake warning lights addressed. I bought the pads myself but he charged about $175 labor. Again, I drove the car home nearby afterward but the next day the warning lights came on again. The mechanic continued to complain that VW's are difficult to figure out and maybe I should take it to a VW dealer. I did and the dealer remarked that my mechanic must not have the required diagnostic equipment as he should have known from the start, that I needed a new ABS control module. Is this true?

    I read here about how to address the ABS module and I guess I will get mine rebuilt. The mechanic wants to charge me $150 labor to put it in. Of course the VW dealer will only put in a new one costing $575 and charge $250 labor.

    Any advice? Thanks, Mr. Gullible
  • majicmanmajicman Member Posts: 40
    I did my own ABS controller on my 2001 Passat but it was quite a chore. One or two of the bolts holding the controller on were very difficult to get at. I think $150 is a good price for labor. Is the $150 labor charge for both removal of the original one and replacing the rebuilt one?

    FWIW, my Passat could be driven without the control module, I covered the exposed part with a zip-lock bag.

    The VW garage should do as you ask but if they won't they should not get the business. IMHO

    I have been very happy with my rebuilt ABS controller from Auto and Truck Electronics. You got the link I posted I hope.

  • keorcuttkeorcutt Member Posts: 2
    I have a 2003 Passat and had the brakes completely redone at a VW dealership at 43,000 miles and just took the car back to the same dealership at 67,000 and they informed me that the rear brake pads have about 2 mm of pad left and I should have them redone again. Is this normal wear, because it seems too soon to have them redone again. Thanks.
  • altair4altair4 Member Posts: 1,469
    Could be normal, with OEM pads.

    Some questions:
    1) Was the brake work at 43K the first replacement pads on the car?
    2) Has your driving habits, location, commute changed?

    The rear pads have been a weak link in the brake system on these cars. For some drivers under some circumstances, they wear out about twice as fast as the front pads.

    Under a mostly urban driving cycle, in a hilly area, I got about 23,000 miles out of my OEM rear pads. I replaced them with PBR Deluxe pads and have about 28K on them, and they still look pretty meaty. I'm guessing they'll go about 40K. I changed out the front pads at about 47,000 miles - they could have gone farther, but I was getting a funky wear pattern that wouldn't pass state inspection.
  • keorcuttkeorcutt Member Posts: 2
    I am pretty sure that the brakes were first done at 43K, I got them done shortly after buying the car myself. My driving habits really haven't changed I drive side streets to and from work about 12 miles a day and I'm really not an aggressive driver and I try to brake softly. Also,I live in the Denver area there really aren't many hills.

    Thank you for your advise, I don't think I am going to take it back to a dealership but I will definitely check out the deluxe pads.
  • altair4altair4 Member Posts: 1,469
    Ah, so it was a "new-to-you" at around 43K. I'm going to guess that the first owner did the rears once before you did. I've read, but can't prove or disprove, that light braking actually tends to wear out the rear pads more quickly. Some forums have posted that the Passat's brakes are biased towards the rear, to keep the car from nose-driving while stopping. It sounds good, anyway....

    The PBRs are pretty nice pads. Low dusting, better than OEM wear, and at least equal stopping power and at lower price point than the dealer's product. You can find them at, and other places.
  • divingtiggerdivingtigger Member Posts: 1
    My wife took her car into the shop this week after complaining of poor gas mileage lately. What the suspect happened is that her back brakes got stuck in the applied posistion. The car was in a couple months ago to get the ABS and traction system checked out (both lights were on constantly) they just said that it needed to be reset. This time they are telling her that the back brakes and rotors need replacement (both were done less than 2 years ago or about 20,000 kms). I am very handy and have worked on several cars and different brands but never a VW and now that her car is off waranty she is letting me start to work on it. First question, will I need any special tools to change the brakes and rotors? Second question would the rotor really have worn out that fast (we haven't moved since she got the car and she has been at the same job with no change in driving habbits)? Can I just take the rotors to get machined or should I just buy new ones? Third question what type of pads and rotors should I look at for her car? I really don't want to go OEM most of the time they are crap. Fourth (and final question for now I swear) is there anything I can do to stop her brakes for sticking? We live in Winterpeg Canada so there is always lots of slush salt and sand that cakes on everything, but I try to do a good cleaning with water atleast once a year.

  • altair4altair4 Member Posts: 1,469
    The rear brakes aren't that difficult at all. Google "brake pad and rotor replacement passaturbonium" and you might find step by step instructions.

    The only special tool needed is the piston retractor. The piston must be turned while pressure is applied against it to retract properly.

    Regarding the rotors, maybe. Aftermarket rotors were pretty cheap when I last did my rear brakes. I think $28 or so apiece. I realize you are in Canada, and your taxes are pretty high, but I'ld look into ordering them on the web.

    I used Ate plain-faced rotors and PBR/Axxis Deluxe Plus pads. They wear better than OEM, produce less brake dust and what they do produce is light in color and cleans easily. Their stopping power is equal to or better than OEM.

    I dunno what to say about keeping them from sticking other than to lube the sliders well.
  • rjaytrjayt Member Posts: 1
    Hi hdabe,

    I read your post with considerable interest. I have a 2000 Passat that has the characteristic flashing "brake fault" symptom. I took it to a local dealer who said I needed a new ABS brake module to the tune of $1100 USD. Reconditioning was not mentioned as an option.

    Questions are:
    Who can provide the necessary reconditioning of the module?
    Is removal of the module dependent of special tools and extensive dissambly?

    Any info you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

  • quprofquprof Member Posts: 2
    I have a 2004 wagon with an automatic transmission and 1.8 engine. There are 35,000 miles on the car. I have a weird vibration and resistance in the brake pedal when slowing down to a stop. It is intermittent and when the service director of the dealership test drove my car it didn't happen and he didn't have a clue. For me, which is often at least once a day, there is a whining sound and then the brake seems to resist my foot pressure but will always stop. There is no brake failure only a sound and a resistance or vibration. Anybody have something like this?
  • altair4altair4 Member Posts: 1,469
    Anytime I hear weird vibration I think warped rotor. That might give you a lead on the problem.
  • quprofquprof Member Posts: 2
    I asked my service guy about that and he said if it were a warped rotor it would happen all the time and not intermittently. I am going to have them check the ABS though it is not exactly the same kind of feeling on the pedal as when the ABS kicks in and the light does not go on. I also read somewhere online about a coating problem on the brakes of this year's model.
  • nitz23nitz23 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 06 passat 2.0T and I need to change my rear brakes and rotors, does any one know if I need any special tools besides the caliper tool?

    I read somewhere that I need some kind of a sensor that I enter in the brake pad thickness which is suppose to reset a brake indicator, is this true and if so does any one know what its called and or where I could get one?
  • mrerikcollinsmrerikcollins Member Posts: 1
    I am having similar problem that happened today. It seems to be intermittent and comes off and on...when it turns off, my traction control light turns on and does not let off.

    Would love to hear peoples findings and suggestions!
  • zagurtozagurto Member Posts: 1
    Hello Adrian:

    I will greatly appreciate if you can give me the name and address of the company who fixed your ABS module.
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